3 minute read

How to attract students to your colleges using PR

One of the key aims of your institution is to attract students right? But how do you that successfully? Of course, there are lots of ways you can do this. But here at BlueSky Education we think using stories to do this, might be your secret weapon.

 

As humans we are programmed to respond to stories, this has been ingrained in us over many years.

Facts and figures may interest us, but well-told stories make our eyes light up. Press releases, pitches and videos which are composed around a narrative will resonate in the minds of the audiences for which they are intended, be remembered and in the best instances, bring about changes in behaviour.

However, these days there are so many ways you can communicate to an audience, from instant responses on Twitter to films on YouTube, it can be easy to get carried away.

When it comes to catching the attention of an education journalist however, you’ll often have more luck pitching an inspirational student or alum story than trying to convince them to write about your school’s new executive programme.

Now that’s not to say that the media isn’t interested in your school’s alternative to an MBA. It’s just that, if you want to stand out, sharing someone’s personal story is most likely going to be a more effective route to take. It can act as a source of inspiration to prospective students – perhaps no testimony is as powerful to potential applicants as the stories of current or former students.

Alumni

Alumni act as the true advocates of your service, because they are the ones who have experienced the quality of teaching and amenities that the institute offers. The alumni know your institute you are inside and out, and they know what value they are referring to someone through a peer network.

Alumni provide the institutions with an opportunity to make personal connections with prospective students who may identify better with the individual alumni than the institution itself.

This is because, much like the effect of the media, these student stories offer a legitimate endorsement for your school. No one has forced them to say anything; they don’t work for your business school, so their comments offer an unparalleled endorsement.

With so many potential channels, platforms and engagement opportunities out there today, it is easy to react to everything and take every opportunity to comment – while this may get you a lot of exposure, such an approach makes it difficult to remain consistent and credible. A strong narrative is needed to underpin everything that you do and that is how Bluesky Education can help. Here at Bluesky Education we have examples of success stories. And we truly believe that these stories are much more likely to attract students to your colleges, especially compared to a press release about a new building.

Real life examples

For example: Maria Garcia Salmones and Oliver Regidor met while studying for an EMBA at Vlerick Business School’s Brussels campus. They live in Brussels with their son and plan to start a company together one day. The Financial Times covered their romantic story and it again emphasises the close knit and familiar class sizes that Vlerick boast. If a prospective MBA student is looking for love, friendship, or simply support, this might just persuade them to apply for Vlerick Business School. Its these kinds of stories that engage and attract potential students to your college.

Amany Haniya told The Economist that due to Travel and visa restrictions she had to leave her family behind in Gaza when she started her MBA at the University of Edinburgh Business School. She said that although it has been tough, its been worth it. The story reiterates how inclusive the University of Edinburgh Business School is and how hard they work for their students, something they pride themselves on.

Currently, there are more than 130,000 students in higher education in Mongolia, however, there are a number of problems in the higher education sector which has led to low competitiveness and employment rates among university graduates. So, students have chosen to study abroad to improve their job prospects. BlueSky Education were asked by the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Canada to set up an interview with a journalist in Mongolia as a group of their students and faculty were visiting there. This led to a great piece of coverage in Business Mongolia, as well as other outlets, which led to the first ever Mongolian applicant to the Canadian institution. The story successfully sparked interest in an international market and attracted students to a far college in Canada.

Want help attracting students to your college? Get in touch today and let PR  work for you.

Kate Mowbray-1

Author: Kate Mowbray

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